Scientists have warned that the world is burning through its carbon budget so quickly that, unless we change course now, we will soon pass the threshold beyond which global warming becomes catastrophic and irreversible.
In an attempt to mitigate the effects, the United Nations has been conducting global negotiations on climate change for more than 20 years, with currently 196 signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This year’s negotiations in Paris (COP21) in December are particularly crucial as current commitments on greenhouse gas emissions run out in 2020. It is hoped that COP21 will produce a new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and thus avoiding the threat of dangerous climate change.
Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. To increase media representation from these countries, Internews' Earth Journalism Network, through its Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP), provides journalists from developing countries with fellowships to attend the talks, and support while they’re there.
“At this critical time, local communities worldwide will get stories relevant to their local situations about what is going on at the conference, not just from international wire agencies,” said James Fahn, Global Director of Internews’ Environmental Programs. “As negotiators make decisions that could affect their lives, local communities can make more informed decisions about how to deal with climate change.”
Thirty-five CCMP Fellows – most of them full-time journalists with a diverse range of climate change reporting experience – have been selected for this year’s talks, out of a pool of 500 applicants. They will travel to Paris along with 6 editors, trainers and staff, many of them also veteran journalists.
At the summit, they will be briefed on the hot-button issues of the negotiations and participate in other a activities such as a Negotiator Media Briefing where all accredited journalists at the COP will be provided with direct access to a panel of key delegation leaders.
This year’s group of Fellows hail from 26 countries and will include 15 journalists who in addition serve as trainers, mentors or leaders of local networks of climate journalists who will also take part in a Training of Trainers course on climate reporting in Paris.
Leading up to the event, EJN’s climate change mentors will hold regionally focused webinars on key climate change issues.
Since 2007, the Climate Change Media Partnership has been providing fellowships for developing country journalists to go to UNFCCC and other major events that they would otherwise be unable to attend. It aims to improve media coverage of climate change, and therefore increase public engagement in the issue with a focus on developing countries and especially in critically affected regions.
The CCMP started in 2007 as a partnership between EJN, Panos and the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED).
This year’s fellowship is made possible by EJN’s Human Dimensions of Climate Change project, funded by the Oak Foundation.
Stay tuned to this page for stories, blog posts, photos, and updates from Paris.